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Indian Government Lifts Nokia's Asset Freeze, Factory Can Transfer To Microsoft

timothy posted about 8 months ago | from the what-the-market-will-bear dept.

Businesses 53

rjmarvin writes "The Delhi High Court approved an appeal by Nokia today to unfreeze the company's Indian assets, including the Chennai mobile phone factory set to be transferred to Microsoft as part of its devices and services acquisition. The decision was contingent on Nokia putting $367 million in escrow to go towards its imposed taxes. Nokia lobbied to lift the freeze to avoid holding up the deal or being forced to stay on as a subcontractor, though they're still on the hook for taxes and penalties to the tune of up to $3.4 billion for a financial period dating back to 2006. Microsoft, though, is in the clear."

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The Way India Works... (4, Interesting)

jazman_777 (44742) | about 8 months ago | (#45673871)

We know this means, "The bribe went through with great success!"

Re:The Way India Works... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45673945)

You mean the way humans work? Let's not kid ourselves into thinking the we don't do the same. It cost me $100,000 to stay out of jail for 5 years, after getting busted with a few kilos of coke. That we here in the good ol' U.S. of A. Some for the prosecutor and some for the judge.

Re:The Way India Works... (5, Funny)

roc97007 (608802) | about 8 months ago | (#45673975)

Wow, that took a lot of courage, to post as yourself rather than anonymously.

Made you look!

Re:The Way India Works... (1)

Razalhague (1497249) | about 8 months ago | (#45674701)

Made you look!

No you didn't, because when someone posts anonymously, they don't get notifications about replies, so they will most likely never know that you replied. Remember, only reply to ACs if you think it will help some other reader. Replying to them in the hopes that they will read your reply is delusional.

Re:The Way India Works... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45674923)

Remember, only reply to ACs if you think it will help some other reader.

This is very good advice for logged on readers as well.

Re:The Way India Works... (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about 8 months ago | (#45675625)

what happens if you're logged in but choose to post anonymously? I'm asking because I never tried, nor will I; I'm proud of my often-mocked username.

Re:The Way India Works... (2)

Razalhague (1497249) | about 8 months ago | (#45675805)

No notification in that case either.

Re:The Way India Works... (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about 8 months ago | (#45676259)

Thank you.

Re:The Way India Works... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45681875)

Yes he did, because nobody reads their notifications. Apart from faggots, of course.

Re:The Way India Works... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45674789)

Probably did.

I would like to think such tales like that are bullshit. It would require both the judge and prosecutor deciding to tank the court case somehow. There is still some review from the DA's office. They don't like to just lose cases. There would have had to been at least some contrived argument that ostensibly allowed the prosecutor to lose while also convincing their supervisor that it was a lost cause.

It's more than two people involved in the conspiracy.

That being said, 6 judges in Texas were recently handed their ass for corruption. Judicial corruption is apparently a big "thing" down in Texas. That's Texas, don't get me started on ol' Miss.

I wouldn't discount the story just because it looks hard to believe.

From my own experience I do know of a case in which the judge was bought off. A multi-hundred-million dollar case in Texas. It was tossed out a few years later with prejudice preventing the original plaintiffs from even refiling and awarding the defendant damages. It still took many more millions in defense and finding some part of the judiciary that wasn't bought off by the plaintiffs.

Re:The Way India Works... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 8 months ago | (#45674891)

> There is still some review from the DA's office. They don't like to just lose cases.

Sigh. One would think so. Still, strange things happen in court [syracuse.com] .

Re:The Way India Works... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45674945)

It's more subtle. More like very reduced charges rather than losing a case. Bending the law rather than outright breking it. It helps to get an attorney that plays golf with the other attorneys.

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45675971)

Nice try but even now at America's low point in history, I'd laugh my head off at the Feds if they behaved like that - 2 bit pikeys and carneys. That's the future - BRICS - yeah right, brace yourself or rather your asses, people. Asia's taking over the reigns. Prepare for hyper level backwater and treachery of the highest order. Get to your shelters, and buy as much ammunition and food as you can muster. Get off the grid and get sustainable.

Re:The Way India Works... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45673995)

Hopefully this will discourage other tech companies from operating in India in the future.

Re:The Way India Works... (2, Insightful)

hydrofix (1253498) | about 8 months ago | (#45674111)

Indeed. Even Google, Apple and Amazon full-heartedly agree that paying taxes is not a duty of the tech companies.

Re:The Way India Works... (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 8 months ago | (#45674291)

Whereas in the West we just say that corporate lobbyists were successful in establishing a win to leverage existing synergies and ensure a deal which will be beneficial to all parties.

I'm not sure I see a whole lot of difference, really. :-P

Re:The Way India Works... (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about 8 months ago | (#45675671)

It's less direct. And without discussing the legal or ethical comparisons, hiding it better helps the blue collar.
A country which appears to be more honest will get more contracts and there will be more jobs involved, because strictly between the two, a business will pick the one where corruption is less visible.

Re:The Way India Works... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 8 months ago | (#45675913)

because strictly between the two, a business will pick the one where corruption is less visible.

Or more readily exploited.

huh, some success (1)

swschrad (312009) | about 8 months ago | (#45674539)

all that means is you can now formally forward the extortion threat to your new overlords. somebody who is anxious at not "getting a taste" can get this bumped up to $5 billion at the drop of a hat.

this court just dotted the "i"s. somebody else will get to cross the "t"s.

Reason 834 why not to do business in India (4, Insightful)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 8 months ago | (#45674007)

Personally I think that India is quite cool; but it would never enter my head in a million years to do business where any Indian official could screw things up. Maybe I am completely wrong but this is the perception of every business person I know including Indians who regularly navigate those dangerous waters.

India regularly complains that they don't get any respect from the western business world who only want to sell their products in India from afar. It makes me wonder what kind of powerhouse India could be if there wasn't this ever present threat that either a corrupt official (at any one of the 10,000 government departments) will demand a bribe, or the ever present threat that a local competitor will use officialdom to shut you out of the Indian market.

If it is this bad for outsiders how terrible is it for Indians who manage to have some success?

Re:Reason 834 why not to do business in India (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45674119)

Shhhhh....

If they ever figured out my becoming a rule of law country, a real one, they would become a super power.

All the good intentions aside, no other country wants that.

Hundreds of under secretaries of state got a really good night's sleep when they decided to go socialist.

Re:Reason 834 why not to do business in India (3, Informative)

hydrofix (1253498) | about 8 months ago | (#45674307)

The corruption in India is indeed rampant and throughout. One of the most astonishing forms I have seen are the "living dead", where authorities are bribed to declare you dead [nytimes.com] , so that someone can meanwhile and unbeknownst to you make a claim to your inheritance. For this particular poor fellow, it took mere 19 years of battling against the authorities until a court finally acknowledged him actually being alive.

Re:Reason 834 why not to do business in India (1)

sustik (90111) | about 8 months ago | (#45676819)

I wonder whether anyone thought to exploit this. For example, it seems that he would not have to pay for traffic tickets. Simply send in a letter that says he cannot pay the fine because he is dead.

(However, I would not think that a "living dead" would get away with destroying property or with murder.)

Re:Reason 834 why not to do business in India (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45677541)

I wonder whether anyone thought to exploit this. For example, it seems that he would not have to pay for traffic tickets. Simply send in a letter that says he cannot pay the fine because he is dead.

(However, I would not think that a "living dead" would get away with destroying property or with murder.)

Nothing like a traffic ticket. You're made to go to the local police station and.... guess what happens next?

Re:Reason 834 why not to do business in India (1)

the_arrow (171557) | about 8 months ago | (#45678933)

Traffic tickets in India? Have you seen how they drive there?

Now not paying taxes, on the other hand, that will sure make the authorities wake up and take action.

Re:Reason 834 why not to do business in India (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45680129)

It's Rs100.00 for every violation (running traffic signals, etc)

Re:Reason 834 why not to do business in India (1)

Freshly Exhumed (105597) | about 8 months ago | (#45674743)

Just about every significant philosophic or religious personage in history has said that corruption is *everywhere*.

You have no idea of what you are talking about... (2)

bayankaran (446245) | about 8 months ago | (#45676899)

If it is this bad for outsiders how terrible is it for Indians who manage to have some success?

I don't think you have any idea about India, except some anecdotal tales from "businessmen who were treading dangerous waters".
I am yet to see Indians complaining of lack of respect from Western business world. I don't know what you are talking about...did an Indian say, "please white brother, please respect us".
There are enough Indian companies in various verticals thriving in India. The corruption you are talking about exists in different forms all over the world. In the most business friendly country - US - it will be lobbying groups buying access and may be lawmakers and laws themselves. The corruption which exists in India is of the same character...no need to vilify this country with an extra dose of scorn. And a small country like Canada (you guys have the population of my home state, Kerala, and I know about your country, I was a landed immigrant in Canada who got bored of your country and returned to India) or Scandinavian nations does not make a valid comparison. If you compare Canada with Kerala it may make sense...Kerala has 100% literacy and is relatively non corrupt. If the state was a country, we would be up in Transparency Index rankings.
Judiciary is relatively non-corrupt in India. It was the Delhi High Court which lifted the freeze of assets. A commentator made a sarcastic note "someone was bribed". I don't think so. No one with some common sense will try to bribe a Delhi High Court judge, there is no need in this case and it can backfire spectacularly.

Re: Reason 834 why not to do business in India (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45677239)

I think that Nokia is to blame here, they used transfer pricing, they sold their products manufactured in India at a loss to their foreign stations like Singapore, from where they sold the same product to the market at a profit. It's a simple case of tax evasion. The stupid finance minister is afraid that Microsoft may decide to shut down the factory and people will lose jobs right before election season. Companies should pay tax

Re:Reason 834 why not to do business in India (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45678575)

Those lobby groups you have are institutionalized corruption. Do not preach when you are corrupt as well.

Re:Reason 834 why not to do business in India (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 8 months ago | (#45685363)

Absolutely, Canada is quite corrupt, and even worse the corruption is really pathetic. The most common form of corruption that I have seen is where a politician will get some minor help on their campaign, and then will lavish the helper with wildly disproportionate government love. This ranges from people who simply work on the campaign to advertising companies who do discount work on people's campaigns.

Then you get the traditional love that is lavished upon Quebec. Traditionally (pre-Harper and pre Bloc Quebec) Quebec voted as a fairly solid block(25%). The rest of Canada would generally be a random mix of Liberal and PC; so whomever won Quebec won Canada. The result was that the federal government firehosed any benefits they could in the direction of Quebec ranging from an excess of Quebec Cabinet ministers to ever federal government office being well staffed with people from Quebec to regulations that favor various industries in Quebec. Under Harper (not my favorite guy) this was significantly reduced. But in all likelihood Trudeau is going to be the next PM and the bad old days will return.

But back to India; I don't know a single business person who will deal with India in any way shape or form. I know one guy($80 million a year sales) who threw purchase orders from Indian companies into a draw reserved for countries he didn't trust (India, Nigeria, etc) and said that nobody in his industry would do business with India. (That said, he also wouldn't do business with his own state government as he considered it to be equally corrupt). His experience was that bank drafts were fake 100% of the time and the single time he did business with a "reputable" company he insisted that they wire the money to him first. He forgot about them until a few days later the $30,000 showed up in his bank account. So he duly shipped off the goods only to have the $30,000 disappear. He contacted the bank as wire transfers should not be reversible but it turned out the company had FedEx'd his bank a fake bank draft and the bank had deposited it making it look like a wire transfer. The cheque was even from a company called "Wire Trans." But as it was fake it bounced but only after he had shipped the goods. Needless to say he was unable to pursue this in the Indian justice system. The lucky thing was that a week later he was at a trade show where he told the story to dozens, many of whom were waiting for or had just received a similar "wire transfer".

As for saying to to preach, I will admit that corruption is rife here but so bad in India as to be crippling. Hence your Zero rupee note. The key difference is that reputable companies in Canada generally will not rip you off as the justice/court system will get them in the end. But we do have fly by night companies so we are not perfect.

Corrupt Indians (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45674015)

Funny how the sum suddenly rose from 300 million to 1.1 Billion and now it is suddenly 3.4 Billion. I guess the Indians saw that big check coming from Microsoft and wanted their share of it. This kind of thing is outright theft so let's hope others start to think twice before outsourcing to India.

Re:Corrupt Indians (1)

ausekilis (1513635) | about 8 months ago | (#45674095)

This kind of thing is outright theft so let's hope others start to think twice before outsourcing to India.

But then who will answer all my technical support questions?

Re:Corrupt Indians (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45674271)

But then who will not answer all my technical support questions?

FIFY

But seriously, I've talked to hundreds of Indians for tech support from Dell, EDI, IBM, etc., and cisco is the only employer I've found so far that has employees with Indian accents that are trained and can answer basic questions. It's amazing the huge percentage of Indians that just don't give a damn about their jobs and refuse to learn. Of course, other than cisco, it's the employer's fault that they refuse to initially train the employees, but the employees should take some initiative. My last tech support issue with Dell took seven weeks to resolve. I talked to one Indian after another that did not understand the difference between SATA and SAS. I had a SAS drive quit and after several months of fighting, I finally got an Indian to ship a new drive and they shipped a SATA drive instead of SAS. After calling to try it get that replaced, I don't know how many dozens of times I had an Indian lie to me and say they're the same thing. Really? You have so little pride in yourself that you refuse to learn and instead decide to remain ignorant and unable to do your job. I finally talked to a Russian supervisor at Dell that was able to comprehend the problem. About three additional weeks later, I had my replacement drive.

Re:Corrupt Indians (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45674317)

But then who will not answer all my technical support questions?

FIFY

But seriously, I've talked to hundreds of Indians for tech support from Dell, EDI, IBM, etc., and cisco is the only employer I've found so far that has employees with Indian accents that are trained and can answer basic questions. It's amazing the huge percentage of Indians that just don't give a damn about their jobs and refuse to learn. Of course, other than cisco, it's the employer's fault that they refuse to initially train the employees, but the employees should take some initiative. My last tech support issue with Dell took seven weeks to resolve. I talked to one Indian after another that did not understand the difference between SATA and SAS. I had a SAS drive quit and after several months of fighting, I finally got an Indian to ship a new drive and they shipped a SATA drive instead of SAS. After calling to try it get that replaced, I don't know how many dozens of times I had an Indian lie to me and say they're the same thing. Really? You have so little pride in yourself that you refuse to learn and instead decide to remain ignorant and unable to do your job. I finally talked to a Russian supervisor at Dell that was able to comprehend the problem. About three additional weeks later, I had my replacement drive.

At one point, I heard from a connoisseur of such things that the best of the various outsourced Cisco call center help came from Costa Rica. The worst from Mexico, and the Indians were in the middle, but had an attitude. None of them actually worked for Cisco itself and the company that Cisco had outsourced to closed down their USA call centers. That was a while back, though.

Re:Corrupt Indians (2)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 8 months ago | (#45674321)

This kind of thing is outright theft so let's hope others start to think twice before outsourcing to India.

But then who will answer all my technical support questions?

Have you tried turning off and back on again?

Re:Corrupt Indians (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45674559)

But then who will answer all my technical support questions?

Him! (RabidR)

Re:Corrupt Indians (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about 8 months ago | (#45675691)

Philippines people. Haven't you heard? it's the new "Cloud" buzzword for support.

Re:Corrupt Indians (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 8 months ago | (#45676173)

This kind of thing is outright theft so let's hope others start to think twice before outsourcing to India.

But then who will answer all my technical support questions?

Maybe someone who actually knows the answer?

Re:Corrupt Indians (3, Insightful)

singhulariti (1963000) | about 8 months ago | (#45674203)

Funny how when the US govt. accuses tech companies of avoiding taxes, the tech companies are evil and when India asserts the same thing they are thieves.

Re:Corrupt Indians (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45674371)

When the US does it the tax bill doesn't all of a sudden jump a (literal) order of magnitude.

Hate on, though.

Re:Corrupt Indians (1)

ak3ldama (554026) | about 8 months ago | (#45674873)

I think what this may be alluding to is the debt acting as a tax shield. I am not an accountant... I just pay attention when I read the news, this happens all the time with mergers. I have not paid too much attention to this Nokia-MS deal though and I might be wrong.

Re:Corrupt Indians (1)

dr_leviathan (653441) | about 8 months ago | (#45674793)

Actually we know that big tech companies are evil (they are motivated by profit for shareholders and little else). What is catching everyone's eye, and fitting well with our collective understanding of India's economy and politcs, is how fast that thievery was "solved". At least in the EU or US the owed taxes would have taken a few months to work their way through the courts. In India it is solved in days. The first thing I thought, and many others did too, is that somewhere there are some Indian officials with some fresh money in their pockets, and the Indian public has been robbed once again.

Re:Corrupt Indians (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45675797)

In the EU/US, people know in advance what the laws is and what taxes should be paid and there would have been no problem in first place. In this case, laws were changed in 2012 (finance act of 2012) and they want to retroactively apply them to Nokia by charging for taxes going back to 2006.

Re:Corrupt Indians (1)

formfeed (703859) | about 8 months ago | (#45674491)

I can't believe it.
Already seven messages calling Indians corrupt and thieves, and no mention of government subsidies for the reservations.

Re:Corrupt Indians (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 8 months ago | (#45674781)

Dots, not feathers

Note to future self (0)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 8 months ago | (#45674235)

Do not bring big business to India under any circumstances. I have been warned.

Finally (1)

formfeed (703859) | about 8 months ago | (#45674529)

With transfer of ownership comes the great opportunity to turn the Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships [mobilephonethrowing.fi] into an exclusive Microsoft event.

Corruption? Maybe. But what if... (2)

Dracos (107777) | about 8 months ago | (#45674745)

...the real reason this got cleared is that MS assured the Indian government that all Nokia phones in India would have a backdoor accessible by the Indian government, like they demanded from BlackBerry?

Re:Corruption? Maybe. But what if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45674969)

Isn't that sort of thing still considered corruption?

Maybe I haven't been keeping up?

No doubt... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45675195)

Microsoft "explained" it to them.

asset? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45675341)

i don't know why, but I keep thinking that word is dirty. It is not like a slang for donkey. lol I am so immature.

Cash Talks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45676423)

William B. Gates must have unzipped his trousers to the befuddlement of the Judge.

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